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Kate Vance

Kate Vance

Culture Communications, Sr. Manager

Louisville, United States

I have found a passion in giving back to others and helping people find their voice

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your passions and your role?

I am a curious Hufflepuff and plant parent in the heart of the US Midwest. I love to adventure and to travel, especially with my dad. I find long hikes in nature to be restorative, humbling, and it gives me a sense of accomplishment.

I am proud to say that I have grown into the person I am today because of my dad. When he grew up, his family lacked running water, electricity, and enough food for everyone. Determined to pave a different path for his family, he came to the US by joining the Navy. Later, to thank the US for the opportunities he was afforded from the military, he joined the Army after 9/11, serving troops with mental healthcare. Given his professional background, he gave me the courage and language to prioritize and normalize talking about the many mental health challenges I have faced in my life. He showed me the benefits of how eating well, exercising, and sunshine can contribute to wellbeing and instilled in me grit and gratitude.

Knowing how my dad grew up, and seeing him persevere despite challenges and discrimination, I have found a passion in giving back to others and helping people find their voice. Volunteering and supporting others fills my cup like nothing else.   

Hitachi has put a strong focus on employees Health & Wellness over the last few years. Can you tell us more about this and why it’s important?

We are very fortunate to have leadership that are focused on health and wellbeing. Over the last few years, we’ve experienced the Great Resignation and the Turnover Tsunami, so as we continue to grow as a company, it’s imperative that we both attract top talent, and retain the amazing employee base that we have. One of the best ways to do that is to prioritize wellbeing – physical, mental, and social, so that our workforce can show up to work fully and authentically. That’s why in addition to our medical and fringe benefits, we provide offerings like live, virtual movement classes for all ranges of ability, mental health drop-ins with trained first aiders, volunteer events, and communities with our employee resource groups.

More than ever, people are showing up to work for a paycheck and purpose. Job seekers want to know that they have flexibility and support to go to appointments they need to during traditional office hours. They want to be able to volunteer and see that the company is contributing to the global community as well as the economy.

Can you tell us about some of the ways and activities we run to support our employees?

In addition to the country-specific benefits such as wellness program reimbursements, we offer global resources and classes that are available to all 12,000+ employees. We partnered with the Heartfulness Institute and have offered masterclasses, guided meditations, and access to mindfulness coaches. We have also offered 4+ weekly movement classes for all levels of fitness, daily group coaching sessions, and access to our fitness and motivation coach. For those who are willing to serve, we have provided access to Mental Health First Aid certification training and our trained employees hold mental health drop-in sessions monthly, so their peers can ask questions, learn, and support each other.

We have also offered classes based on different focuses throughout the year. During May, Mental Health Awareness Month, we spotlighted dozens of webinars around the world focused on mental health and we hired an art therapist and sleep coach to walk our employees through techniques to express themselves and rest. Later in the year, we focused on women’s health and men’s health in October and November, respectively. For each month, we promoted webinars from around the world, in different languages, and brought in physicians to discuss health as it relates to sex and genetics, and ways to reduce the risk of cancer.

What are your top tips and advice to take care of your Health & Wellness?

I have been very intentional about self-care in the last few years. I know that if something isn’t on my calendar, it isn’t going to get done. So, in addition to adding fresh veggies and fish to my regular diet, I carve out time in my schedule for therapy, acupuncture, physical therapy and social time with friends and family – they’re all a vital part of my “care team.” I also make sure that I regularly let people know that I reserve time for these things and need to work around them to show up as my best self. I recommend identifying the few things that are manageable to incorporate in your daily life and stick to it. Make it a habit by doing it at the same time every week and protect that time. Self-care is healthcare, it isn’t selfish! 

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